Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.

Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.



Sunday, January 22, 2017

Donald Dumb's Pea Brain in a Changing World

As I listened to the inaugural address of Donald Dumb in Washington DC, the abject simplicity of language and intellect was obvious. The man is clearly incapable of articulating a compound-complex sentence that has more than one or two dependent clauses.

Language and intelligence are the chicken-and-egg cyclical duality that everyone agrees has been the fundamental driver of the success of the human species: No one can certify which came first, but the two parameters of our biology are married to each other in an endless cycle of positive reinforcement. The little intelligence that animals have - and many species certainly are intelligent - can never transcend that of a 1-2 year old human child. And as soon as the child begins speaking, his/her intelligence takes off to levels never ever seen in animal species.

I am therefore led to conclude that Donald Dumb's shallowness of language must reflect an equal devastation and empty-headedness in the area of intelligence. I had it right all the time. The man is utterly DUMB. Now, lest I am accused of elitism, haughtiness, arrogance and pomposity, "simple" leaders who rise from the ranks of the people are oftentimes heroes in times of war and generous idealists in times of peace. Simplicity itself is by no means a leadership quality that should be rejected because it may be compensated or accompanied by empathy, sincerity, compassion, idealism, and other positive leadership qualities. But Donald Dumb marries his simple language and his simple mind with hatred, arrogance, condescension, narrow-mindedness, vindictiveness, meanness, and pettiness. And this is a dangerous mix.

What a man with primitive language skills and intellect like Donald Dumb reveals is a binary view of the world, a world devoid of complexity. Us versus them. Zero-sum relationships. Kill or die. The Law of the Torah. This may be fine if you live in a jungle. But our world is no jungle. Homo sapiens has been evolving for close to 200,000 years, and the only parameter that has allowed our species to literally move out of the jungle and succeed as it has is "cooperation". The human species discovered, along the way of its earlier evolution through millions of years, the Golden Rule, the Law of Reciprocity, in which humans began standing in the shoes of their enemies and feeling their own enemies' pain as it could theirs. That is the foundation of empathy and compassion. Our intelligence and our language allowed us to develop our ethics: We learned to understand rationally that our own success depended on the success of others around us, and we became moral beings. We became humans. 

A binary view of the world, a rejection of having to deal with complexity, reflect an under-developed capacity for ethical judgment. It makes a leader rule like a dictator: Refuse to listen to the other side, refuse to listen to advice fro your own side. A multiplicity of opinions imposes thinking, and Donald Dumb cannot think before making decisions. Hence, impulsiveness and unilateralism.

Today, at his first press "conference" with the media in the White Outhouse, Donald Dumb's Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, delivered a short statement about how the media were inaccurately reporting the size of the crowd at Dumb's inauguration. That's it. He refused to take questions. Guess the background: Donald Dumb was upset that his crowds were smaller than President Obama's inauguration crowds, so he dispatches his poodle on a leash Sean Spicer to bark about it. This is the level of intellect of the idiot in the oval office. This is the "top issue" on his narcissistic mind on his second day in office. And this is his style of deliberation with the press. The "best" is yet to come.

Donald Dumb's inaugural address was so fundamentally American, as it reminded me of the many instances of America's "lateral democracy" I have come to experience in the US. In education, for example, Americans lower the standards to the lowest common denominator deliberately, in order to allow the lowest performers to pass and"succeed", even if the price is that everyone succeeds with a mediocre education. No wonder Americans hate intellectuals and deride them as the pejorative "nerds" they mock in movies and social life. In many ways this anti-intellectualism has a redeeming value. It lends itself to a more humane approach to life, if you extend this principle more broadly to other aspects of life, including political life. This is, after all, what a democracy is. Democracy is populist by definition because it is antithetical to elitism. I often felt conflicted, for example, about the "jury system" of the American justice system, because the fate of a defendant rests with 12 ordinary citizens, butchers, nurses, grocery store clerks, stonemasons, truck drivers and such... instead of a panel of highly educated judges. But quality demands some elitism, some rise above the lowest common denominator, and Americans, to stay in education as our field of illustration, abandon democracy once you leave high school. There is nothing more elitist than university-level American academia, despite residual shreds of ignorance and peasantry that pervades the entire American society because you cannot make up sufficiently in university for the deficiency of earlier schooling and upbringing. The success of Americans in research, technology, and Nobel prize winnings is as much the product of an elite few as it is the product of the sheer numbers of universities, colleges, researchers and billions of dollars Americans throw at their academia. The laws of probability alone always secure success when the population size is large enough. In fact, I have argued elsewhere that the historical association of America with the ease of success - the slogan being that anyone can succeed in America - is basically the result of two factors: Anglo-Saxon liberalism for sure, but also the empty ecosystem that America was when Europeans arrived where there was no competition and enormous untouched natural resources. Any idiot peasant from the boonies of Europe could succeed. America's pains in our time are perhaps the early signs that the ecosystem is becoming saturated, all the niches have been filled, and the competition is mounting, not only at home but all over the world. The Middle America that voted for Donald Dumb is precisely that generation of Americans who were raised by the last waves of white immigrant parents for whom America was easier and less competitive, and their children live with the feeling of entitlement that is eroding because of modernity, robotization, and increased competition that globalism is imposing on them. Rustbelt industries? Unregulated abuse of the environment? Coal mining? Devastating and subsidized (by government, no less) macro-agriculture? White race domination over former African slaves, immigrant Hispanics and others? Is this what Donald Dumb is promising to resurrect for these idiot peasants?

Through his oversimplification of the world to his white Middle American audience, he is re-creating for them a zone of comfort, an artificial one to be sure, but at least during the campaign and the early months of his presidency, they will feel the same high that an addict feels. Moreover, by not demanding of them to think through the complexities of the relationship between government and citizenship, between complex issues and their own response to them, he is making government less responsible for navigating through these complex issues. Donald Dumb is in fact acting in accordance with the white supremacist survivalist idiots of Middle America who want "less government".

Nuclear deal with Iran? Too complex for his, and their, pea size brains. It requires experts, scientists, negotiators, United Nations involvement, political acumen, definitions of bottom lines, cultural, religious, geopolitical knowledge, etc. Hence, his solution: No negotiations. Nuke them. Simple. All you need is military power. No need for intellectuals and people with know-how.

Immigrants? Scary colored people who speak accented English. Too complex; too foreign; aliens (is the technical term by US immigration agencies); strange customs; languages... Can't tell the difference between an Arab and a Sikh. An African and a Haitian. A Muslim and a Buddhist. Even as they fill much-needed jobs white Americans don't want to do, even as they create jobs and successful enterprises, they still don't look like us white Middle Americans. They don't drink beer on Friday evenings. Worse, they don't watch American football or baseball. Solution: Kick them out. Simple.

We are headed for a cataclysm. The forces of the entitled primitive white reaction versus this modern technology (travel, communication...) that is welding disparate cultures together in spite of themselves. There is no turning back from the computer to the smokestack, from the automobile to the horse cart, from the cell phone to the written letter ... We may need to make adjustments to the violence that this rapid change is causing to our lives and to our environment, but there is no turning back. We are in it together, and the isolationist idiots of Donald Dumb will soon be disappointed by the inability of their Don Quixote to vanquish the windmills of their primitive mindset.

No comments: